Northwestern at Michigan State - 3 Things To Watch For

Northwestern at Michigan State - 3 Things To Watch For

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Northwestern at Michigan State - 3 Things To Watch For

We’ve provided our game analysis and prediction – but what the three most important things to keep an eye on during Michigan State’s Homecoming matchup with Northwestern on Saturday at Spartan Stadium?

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We’ve provided our game analysis and game prediction – in case you missed it, it’s right here –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/10/04/northwestern-at-michigan-state-game-prediction/

Also, just in case you’ve missed other very important things, this is something that we feel an obligation to share since the idea of “missing” this makes us sad.  This is the very first episode – Season #1, Episode #1 – of “The Love Boat.”

Take the 48 minutes and thank us later after experiencing the greatness –

With that public service now having been administered, let’s get to the 3 most important things to keep an eye on when watching #20 Michigan State (3-1, 1-0) go up against Northwestern (1-3, 1-1) on Homecoming Weekend in East Lansing.

THE TUCK RULE, BRIAN LEWERKE VERSION

Last week against Central Michigan, Brian Lewerke seemed to be more willing to pull the trigger on tucking it and running with it when the opportunity presented itself.

Lewerke remains one of the more dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, let alone the Big Ten.

We recognize and appreciate that Lewerke has played through most of the first four games with an attitude – more like a strategy – that has been predicated on utilizing the weapons all around him, minimizing the risks of injury that come with running with the ball, and trying to stick with the game plan on every play.

That’s all to be respected.

But things have changed and Lewerke can – and should – be more aggressive with the approach that he took often last season in terms of tucking and running.

Perhaps the best example of this came in Ann Arbor when Michigan State was in the redzone, trailing UMAA 3-0 late in the first quarter.

On 2nd and 13 from the UMAA 14-yard line, Lewerke took a three-step drop out of the shotgun, surveyed his options as he looked for open receivers, saw the coverage, sensed the pocket closing in on him, and made the right, quick decision to tuck it and run with it.

This was the result –

That run was much more than a touchdown run.

That run was a statement that carried Michigan State to its 14-10 victory that night.

Quickness, speed, an eye for the endzone, and, perhaps above all else, toughness made that play and that score possible.

It’s time for Brian Lewerke to get a little selfish and demonstrate this type of mentality.

He doesn’t need to carry the ball 20 times.

But when the opportunity presents itself – as it did on the 2nd and 13 from the UMAA 14-yard line – let’s see him take command with The Tuck Rule.

MAKE AL DAVIS A SPARTAN FAN

We’ve been saying this since before the season started – Michigan State needs to become loyal Al Davis acolytes –

Over the last couple of weeks, the Spartan defensive interior and overall attack has begun to show that this team may just end up being a defense that puts the quarterback down on a somewhat regular basis.

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson is simply not as elusive as he was a year ago due to the knee injury he sustained in the Wildcats’ Music City Bowl victory over Kentucky.

Last week, UMAA sacked Thorson six times.

Maybe the Spartans might even have a little extra motivation in terms of wanting to surpass that total achieved by UMAA.

The ability to put Thorson on the ground, pressure him, harass him, hurry him – all of this will have spillover impact on the entire defensive performance.

Get to the quarterback and make Al Davis happy.

If Al Davis is happy, that means that all Spartans will be happy.

CLEAN IT UP

Focus.

Discipline.

Adherence to assignments.

No unforced errors.

When it’s 3rd and 3, line up and execute the play rather than committing an illegal procedure that turns a 3rd and 3 into a 3rd and 8.

Do not grab a Northwestern player’s face mask when tackling a Wildcat ball carrier short of the first down marker on a 3rd and 4.

Do not kick the opening kickoff out of bounds.

Do not commit a personal foul with a late hit that isn’t necessary.

If Michigan State can “simply” apply focus, concentration, and a commitment to avoiding any and all unforced errors, this game can be won comfortably.

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